As tends to happen when Arsenal suffer a bad defeat, the club have gone into media lockdown and the number of stories coming out of the club has dropped significantly.
That doesn’t mean there’s nothing interesting going on. As I looked through the UK papers this morning, here are the stories that caught my eye:
1Winter break to start in 19/20 season
According to Charles Sale, writing in the Daily Mail, a winter break, starting in the 19/20 season, is all but certain to happen now.
Sale, who is well know for his reliability, wrote, “The introduction of a winter break during the 2019-20 season will be presented as a fait accompli to the FA Council tomorrow. The long-awaited changes that will be outlined by Andy Ambler, head of professional game relations, mean that the FA Cup fifth round will be played in midweek, with replays scrapped.
“The fine detail has already been agreed between the FA, Premier League and Football League and FA blazers are expected to voice their strong disapproval at being kept in the dark.”
The break will come at the start of February.
2Alexis Sanchez to be dropped for FA Cup semi-final v Tottenham
The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail are both reporting that Jose Mourinho is preparing to drop Alexis Sanchez for Manchester United’s FA Cup semi final against Tottenham this weekend.
The Chilean has struggled since his move from Arsenal in the January window, continuing the form he showed in London for the first half of the season as he huffed about not being allowed to join Manchester City.
They also report that Mourinho is prepared to let Paul Pogba leave this summer.
Both players are being blamed after another poor showing, this time against West Brom in a defeat that handed the title to their City rivals.
Alexis has managed just two goals (and five assists) in 13 games for United. James Ducker’s comments in the Telegraph that “…Alexis Sanchez, head buried in his chest, ran into his umpteenth roadblock,” will come as no surprise to any Arsenal fans anywhere on the planet.
3Manchester City face transfer ban
Despite winning the Premier League and hoping to buy a few players this summer to reinforce City’s domination in England, the club are facing the real possibility of a transfer ban for two windows due to their controversial signing of Benjamin Garre.
Velez Sarsfield reported City for ‘unethical’ behaviour for allegedly contacting Garre when he was only 15 before signing him just a few days after his 16th birthday.
A ruling from the Court of Arbitration for Sport is expected in the next week.
4Iniesta off to China
After 16 years with Barcelona, Andres Iniesta is set for a move to China where he will earn approximately €13m-per season on a three-year deal.